Chiefs of Police Association: College campuses should have the right to set gun policies
"Just like anyone has a perceived right to carry weapons, businesses have a right to protect the entity as a whole," Jackson says, adding that it's only logical that college campuses, like any private entity, should have a right to ban guns if they choose to do so.
"The Chiefs of Police are very concerned about what just happened," he says. "The person who accidentally fired off a gun in an office...how it happened may or may not matter. The fact that it did happen...means someone could've been hurt or killed."
via Facebook Anschutz Medical Campus
At the end of the day, he says, he personally feels more confident in trained officers at police departments rather than individuals outside of law enforcement agencies who are permitted to carry guns. "I'm not a big fan of the overall mandates. Each college campus might be different," he explains. "But I'm going to say that I trust the police departments to partner with the campus police departments.... They are very well-trained people...and I trust those entities to handle problems.... I'm not as trusting of individuals."
At this point, the state Supreme Court has made its ruling and university officials say they will continue to follow the law and allow those with permits to bring guns onto campus. It's possible that proposed legislation could emerge to reconsider campus bans or give universities the right to regulate guns more strictly if they choose -- and the Chiefs of Police group would likely support measures of that nature.
In recent months, there has been much debate over access to guns in Colorado, given Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes purchased powerful weapons and fired shots that killed twelve and injured dozens more in July. In fact, the accidental discharge this month -- the first firing of its kind of a permit-holder on a Colorado campus -- took place at the Anschutz Medical Campus, where Holmes was studying.
In a statement posted on the Students for Concealed Carry website, spokesman David Burnett says, "It's unfortunate that some groups are rushing to premature judgment and exploiting this unfortunate situation for political gain," adding, "No one believes in punishing all for the sins of the few. The reality is that over 200 campuses in six states allow campus carry without incident. Some of them have done so for years."
Ultimately, Jackson says, law enforcement officials are going to do whatever they can to prevent crime and shootings: "We have to be right 100 percent of the time. [Shooters] only have to be right once," he notes. "We're not ones to say that more guns always makes it more safe."
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "William Costello's assault on an elderly man leads to DNA test -- and serial-rapist bust"